2014 Inner Tubing Season Begins Early

The 2014 inner tubing season began in the middle of June, then paused for some cooler weather, resurfacing towards the end of the month.  It is hard to believe that this will mark my 50th summer of inner tubing.  I have been fortunate to enjoy the waters of the Rogue River, an excellent river for inner tubing.  The flow now is about twice what it was before Lost Creek Dam(2200 cfs at TouVelle State Park), and somewhat warmer(53-54 at Casey State Park, instead of 51).  The test for low 50 temps. is to put your hand in the water.  If it begins to burn from cold, temp. is low 50s.  You can do the same thing with your feet.  I usually test the water at TouVelle State Park, and, if it’s warm enough, and the outside temp. is in the 70s, time to float.  Incidentally, when I was a kid, I usually encountered low 50 water, but now, at 61, I’d just as soon avoid it!

Note:  River has pushed to the right at TouVelle State Park, which means less water along the left bank.  The river took out part of the “children’s dam” and cut a new channel over soft rock to drop into main rapid on the right.  Unfortunately, the two rocky channels below the bridge are still there, forcing tubers to the left, and then requiring them to cross two swift currents to get to shore.  Chances are strong that tubers will be pushed downstream to second put-out among some thick underbrush.  My advice would be to get out just before the “children’s dam”.  The wave on the right isn’t worth the ensuing hassle.

Greetings to inner tubers everywhere!  It looks to be a wonderful season on the Rogue River.  People generally tube from Casey State Park to TouVelle State Park.  The run is exciting, but not dangerous, if you avoid strainers.  Mostly Class 1 and 2.  You could tube to below Gold Ray, but there is no easy put-out.  Below that, waves become too large and irregular for inner tubers, and there are a few falls.  However, you can tube from Gold Hill to Hog Creek(watch out for Twin Bridges Rapid Class 3, just before Valley of the Rogue State Park), if you have the desire, but much of the water from Grants Pass to Hog Creek is placid, and without action.  Happy tubing!

Robber’s Roost

Robber’s Roost near Casey State Park, acquired its name from a policeman with a sense of humor.  He was Sprat Well’s son-in-law.  Sprat was an old-timer who once owned river property from Eastin’s Rogue Haven to the Obstinate J Ranch.  The Roost was a well-known steelhead hole and nearby Pat’s Fly and Tackle provided fishermen with licenses and the required accessories.  The rapid opposite the Roost had one of the largest whirlpools on the upper Rogue.  A boat might spin around for half a minute before the river relinquished its grasp and the vessel could move on.  I knew the rapid as the Cottage Kitchen riffle, because there was a small restaurant above the Roost that I liked to frequent.  This restaurant and its co-owners, Mrs. Caroline Kelsey and Miss Allyn Goss, will be the subject of a future post.  In the meantime, please enjoy the video clip below of Robber’s Roost Rapid. The 1964 flood took the rapid away and replaced it by a mild chute.

Low Water Greets Inner Tubers On Rogue River

Last year was an unusually dry one for Southern Oregon, so it is no surprise that the Rogue River is quite low.  This means rocks are poking their heads up at inappropriate places and tree branches are plainly visible.  But the current is not as strong, so if you end up on a rocky bar, you can simply walk to deeper water.  However, a lack of rain, combined with a very warm May, has allowed more moss to grow, so be careful of your footing!  I would recommend sports shoes or boots, not sandals, and, of course, a sturdy flotation device.  The waves are smaller in many rapids, and dodging is more of a requirement, especially in rapids like Rattlesnake or the series of rapids below Casey State Park.  But, on the whole, the river is more forgiving than previous years, and resembles more the pre-Lost Creek Dam years when there was no river control.

For kids, there are more sand bars, beaches, and places where there is no current.  You can simply lie on your back and float.  This is a great time to introduce kids to the fun of being in the river with a minimum of danger.

Whatever age you are, please visit the Rogue River this year and have a great time!

Tubing The Upper Rogue River, Part 1.

IMG_0574IMG_0573IMG_0417IMG_0379IMG_1186In tubing the Upper Rogue River, the floater has more choices, because of the recent removal of Gold Ray Dam and Savage Rapids Dam.  Basically, you can tube from below Lost Creek Dam to Gold Ray Rapid, and from Gold Hill Park to Graves Creek without too much difficulty.  High water creates some large holes, which should be avoided if possible.  Since the tube can only take a curler of a certain height, anything above that height will result in a swim.  Places to watch out for include the long rapid near the former Obstinate J Ranch, which is full of turbulent eddies, cross currents, minor reversals, and rocks.  This rapid is about 1/2 mile below Casey State Park.  Over the years, many, many people have gotten stranded or have tipped over in this rapid.  Rapids such as the one above Rogue Elk Park acquire considerable force as does Horseshoe Falls just above Rattlesnake Rapid.  Twin Bridges Rapid just above Valley of the Rogue State Park should not be taken on the left, because of sharp, rocky ledges.  It is wise to get out immediately on the left below Gold Ray Rapid since an irregular wave through a broken weir at the right occurs very soon, and Bitterman Falls, Gold Nugget(Hayes, Dowden) Falls, and T’lomikh Falls are definitely not for tubers.  The photos above include one of drop below Casey Rapid,  two of Rogue Elk Rapid; and two of Twin Bridges Rapid.  Photo below is Casey Rapid.IMG_1187

A Path And Some Philosophy

Yesterday, I walked down a path in Rogue Elk Park adjoining the Rogue River.  Glad to leave the campground, I looked at the natural world surrounding me.  Yes, maybe fifty plus years ago I was walking down a path, but at that time it was with my Grandma Lillian.  And we weren’t walking in Rogue Elk Park, but in Casey State Park.  I remember her pointing out to me the different sizes and shapes of pine cones and the pine needles scattered along the path.  We picked up several objects of interest, and these became the basis for our hobby shows that we put on for several years at Eastin’s Rogue Haven.

My grandparents had begun coming to Southern Oregon for their summer vacations in 1929, and continued visiting regularly with the exception of the war years.  They stayed originally at Casey’s Auto Camp with no electricity.  And now, I represent another generation that visits Southern Oregon.  All these thoughts from a path along the Rogue River on a sunny afternoon on August 4.

Inner Tubing Season Begins In Southern Oregon

The weather has finally warmed up to the point where inner tubing is possible on the Rogue River.  The Rogue River between Casey State Park and Tou Velle State Park offers great whitewater for inner tubing.  There are several Class II rapids with a few Class II+ and a Class III-.  Strainers can be a problem, and there are several waves that can flip a tube.  Best stretches are from Casey State Park to Rogue Elk Park, and from Dodge Bridge to Black Oaks.  The latter stretch includes Horseshoe Falls Class II+, and Rattlesnake Rapid Class III-.  The photo below is Takelma Park Riffle at about 4,000cfs.IMG_0114